Chewy Pralines

These pralines, found near the cash register in pretty much every Mexican restaurant in South Texas, have a very different texture than the Praline recipe we posted previously.

chewy-pralines                                                                                                                       Makes 24
1c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
½ lb. butter (2 sticks)
1 c. evaporated milk
1½ t. vanilla
4 c. pecans (halves and broken pieces)

Combine sugar and syrup in saucepan and heat to 250 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted. Then slowly stir in milk. Heat, stirring constantly, to 245 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans. Drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper or aluminum foil. Let stand until cool. Wrap each in plastic to keep them separate.

Coliflor

ColiflorServes 5-6
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
5 scallions, sliced (including tops)
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1 t. chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 c. oil
Juice of 2 limes
2 T. water
2 t. sugar

Combine all ingredients in large bowl, mix well, and let marinate for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spread mixture on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast until tender, 25-30 minutes.

Chiles en Nogada

By Jessica Toledo - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37857302

By Jessica Toledo – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37857302

As I mentioned on our “About” page, the original cookbook never made it into print. At the time the marriage dissolved, one important recipe was still pending, as we were having trouble convincing the family to invest the time necessary for making this complicated dish and allowing us to do all the measuring.

Since it never happened, I’ll point you instead to a very authentic version on The Mija Chronicles blog.

Sopaipillas

IMG_4732IMG_4734          Makes 4 dozen
3½-4 c. flour
1 t. salt
2 t. baking powder
1 T. sugar*
1 T. butter or shortening
1½ c. scalded milk, cooled to room temperature, or
1¼ c. scalded milk
1 pkg. yeast
¼ c. warm water
Oil for frying

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in large bowl. Cut in shortening. If using yeast, dissolve in warm water.* Add milk to yeast. Add milk to flour mixture to make a firm dough. Knead dough 15-20 times and let sit 20-30 minutes. Roll to ¼-inch thick and cut into triangles or diamonds. Fry a few at a time in hot oil until brown. Serve with honey (L), cinnamon and powdered sugar (R), or butter.

*The sugar may be added to the yeast instead of with dry ingredients, if desired.

Cajeta de Celaya – Leche Quemada

CajetaCajeta actually means ‘box,’ a reference to the small, round wooden boxes the dessert is traditionally packaged in. The boxes contain Leche Quemada, literally ‘burned milk,’ usually goat’s milk which is cooked until all the water evaporates, and then sweetened.

5 quarts milk (goat’s milk is preferred but not required)
1 t. baking soda
2 2/3 c. sugar
1 large stick cinnamon
¼ c. cornstarch*
2-3 T. milk
½ c. water
½ c. sherry

In large pot, scald milk over low heat. Stir in soda, sugar and cinnamon and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Blend cornstarch in 2-3 tablespoons additional milk and stir into the pot. Cook, stirring until the bottom of the pot can be seen when scraped with a spoon. Add water and mix well. Add sherry and mix well again. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the bottom of the pot can be seen again. Pour mixture into small wooden boxes or glass dishes. Serve at room temperature.

* 1 c. ground blanched almonds may be substituted for the cornstarch and additional milk.

For a yummy treat, drizzle some Cajeta over vanilla ice cream as pictured.

Champurrado

IMG_4716Atole is a drink made with corn meal or corn masa. Champurrado is a chocolate flavored atole.

Serves 5-6
1/3 c. masa harina mix (or 3 T. corn meal)
3 c. cold water
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. granulated sugar
1 t. vanilla (preferably Mexican)
2 squares Mexican chocolate (or 2 oz. dark Dutch chocolate), grated
1 t. cinnamon
2 c. milk

Blend masa with 1 cup water. Add in the rest of the water and strain through a fine sieve into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Add sugars, vanilla, chocolate and cinnamon slowly, still stirring constantly. Stir in milk slowly and cook until mixture is creamy. (Best if stirred with wire whisk.)

Champurrado II

Serves 5-6
2 c. water
3 c. milk
½ c. masa harina mix
4 oz. Mexican chocolate (or dark Dutch chocolate), grated
1/3 c. brown sugar
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. vanilla (preferably Mexican)
1/8 t. salt

In saucepan, bring water to a boil. Mix milk and masa in a bowl and strain through fine sieve into boiling water. Add remaining ingredients and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to simmer. Serve immediately.

Tepache

Tepache                                                  Yields 5 quarts
2 lbs. brown sugar
4 quarts water
Cinnamon, cloves and anise to taste*
Pinch black pepper
1 medium pineapple, peeled and ground (or 2 16 oz. cans crushed pineapple in natural juice, drained)
1 banana, mashed
1 quart beer (or 2 pkgs. yeast)

Boil brown sugar and water for 5 minutes. Add spices and boil 15 minutes longer. Remove from heat and let cool. Add pineapple and banana and pour into a large earthenware crock (do not use metal). Add beer or yeast and allow to ferment 24 hours. Strain before serving or storing. Serve chilled.

*I used 4 cinnamon sticks, 10 whole cloves and 1 tsp. anise seed

Mexican Cherry Creams

Mexican Cherry CreamsSince the desserts section of the Salazar family cookbook is not extensive, I am adding in this recipe, which originally appeared in the New York Daily News, February 10, 1982. How can any recipe that contains tequila not be worth sharing?

Makes 80*
6 T. butter or margarine
4 c. confectioner’s sugar
½ c. unsweetened cocoa
¼ c. tequila
80* well-drained maraschino cherries
1 c. finely chopped toasted almonds

In a bowl, cream butter and gradually blend in sugar and cocoa. Add tequila. Mix thoroughly, working with the fingers if necessary to get mixture to hold together. Knead briefly. Blot cherries dry with paper towels. Press a teaspoon of mixture around each cherry and roll in almonds to coat.

*I actually think the maraschino cherries we get these days are larger than they were back in the early 1980s. The recipe made 64 creams.

Pumpkin Candy

Pumpkin candyPumpkin
Slaked lime (also sold as pickling lime)
Water
Sugar
Cilantro (coriander) seeds
Stick cinnamon

Cut pumpkin open and clean out seeds* and fibrous strands. Peel pumpkin and cut into oblong pieces at least 1 inch wide. Mix 1 cup slaked/pickling lime (available at hardware stores) per gallon of water to cover pumpkin and let sit 24 hours.

Drain pumpkin and then rinse off all the lime under cold water. Soak pumpkin in clear cold water for 2 hours. Drain and prick pieces several times with a fork.Pumpkin Candy

Weigh equal amounts of pumpkin and sugar; put sugar in large pot and add enough water to boil and make a syrup. Add pumpkin and ½ t. coriander and 1 stick cinnamon per pound of pumpkin. Let simmer over low heat for as many hours as necessary until syrup is absorbed. Cool pumpkin on waxed paper at least 10 hours until hardened. Candy should have hard sugar-glazed outside and firm-jellied center.

* Don’t throw out the seeds—the Pepitas—sprinkle them with olive oil or melted butter and a little salt and roast in a 300 degree oven for about 45 minutes for a great nutritious snack.

If you don’t fancy pumpkin, try this instead:

Sweet Potato Candy

Sweet potatoes
Sugar
Water
Cilantro (coriander) seeds
Stick cinnamon

Peel sweet potatoes, cut into oblong pieces and prick with fork. Weigh equal amounts of sweet potatoes and sugar; put sugar in large pan and add enough water to boil and make a syrup. Add sweet potatoes and ½ t. coriander and 1 stick cinnamon per pound of sweet potatoes. Let simmer over low heat until syrup is absorbed. Be careful not to overcook, as sweet potatoes will then fall apart. Cool on waxed paper.